Severe headaches during pregnancy are a common occurrence. You can experience them anytime throughout the pregnancy period. However, they are often encountered in the first weeks after conception and maybe in the latter stages of the pregnancy. Usually, they are attributed to the overwhelming fluctuation in hormonal levels and changes in blood circulation. Other factors known to increase their frequency and severity include fatigue, stress, dehydration, hunger, bad posture and high blood pressure among others. Severe headaches during pregnancy are also triggered by certain foods such as chocolates, preserved meats, aged cheese and suchlike.
Severe headaches during pregnancy can either be avoided or treated. Some of the preventive remedies include having adequate sleep, relaxing adequately, reducing stress and among other lifestyle changes. On the other hand, treatment is divided into two major categories namely natural treatment options and medications. Normally, pregnancy headaches will go away when you apply a cold or hot compress, a warm shower, a massage on the neck or shoulders or a relaxing moment in a dark quiet room. However, there are those reluctant severe headaches during pregnancy that will not give in to any of the aforementioned remedies. Also, you might be in a place that you cannot have a bath, a massage or any of the natural treatment options. In such circumstances you might have to take the last resort in handling pregnancy headaches; medications.
Which are the safest medications for headaches?
Regarding safe medications for pregnant women, the food and drug safety board classifies them in three classes namely A, B, C, D and X. The safest of all the five divisions is A. Unfortunately, only folic acid has passed the conditions for being in the category. Until, now no risks to the fetus have been identified after pregnant women were administered the drug. However, it is not a painkiller so it cannot stop or reduce severe headaches during pregnancy.
In category B, no fetal risks were recorded in both animal studies and managed human researches. Luckily, the group has a couple of pain relievers including acetaminophen and metoclopramide. The former is perfect for calming severe head pains whereas the latter can help ease mild headaches and nausea. Others over the counter medicines in the list include naproxen which can be used on the first and second trimesters. For severe headaches during pregnancy at the rear end of the period, be sure to use narcotic analgesics such as oxycodone.
Category C drugs are believed to have adverse effects on the development of the unborn child. These usually include a single or a combination of compounds. Your usual painkiller aspirin lies in this category. Others in the division are aspirin with codeine, Percocet (acetaminophen and oxycodone), Imitrex (sumatriptan succinate) and Maxalt (rizatriptan) among others. These should only be used under prescription by a health specialist. It might deem convenient to grab a pill of aspirin, after all you have a pack of them that is still lingering in your medicine cabinet, but do not dare. You might manage to reduce the severe headaches during pregnancy, but you will be lucky if your unborn child sees the light of the day.
According to the elites in the medical world, medicines in category D and X should not be used, whatsoever, during pregnancy.
Handy tips while taking medications
If you are pregnant, it is advisable to consult your physician before you embark on any medication for severe headaches during pregnancy. This is to ensure maximum safety for the child that you are carrying.
Here are some tips to use while taking medications:
- Do not ignore the instructions. Most people shy away from reading drug labels or leaflets that come with most medicine packs. The information therein is of great importance and especially now that you are harboring a new life in your belly. Read it and especially pregnancy indications. Take note of any allergic reactions.
- Report to your doctor about any side effect that arises when you take the medicine. Owing to the pregnancy hormones, even the mildest of side effects, might be magnified. Severe headaches during pregnancy might occur more often owing to the drugs. It is best if you consult the doctor, so as they can propose a suppressant that will be suitable for your health and that of the unborn child.
- Organize your medications. Keep them separately from any other that you have been taking in the past. If the medicines are not labeled, chances are that you might end up taking the wrong ones.
- Take them as per doctor’s prescriptions. It is tempting to stop taking the pills, when one feels that they are getting well. Severe headaches during pregnancy in some women appear at some times and disappear in others. You may think they have stopped only to come back with great intensity.
- Lastly, keep a record of all the drugs you take to calm migraines or headaches during pregnancy. This will come in handy when something serious crops up. You will be making your health care provider’s work easier.
Severe headaches during pregnancy are often harmless. Nevertheless, if you realize that they are intense and they may not stop even after applying natural remedies. Your doctor will know what suits you best.
Continue reading Types of Severe Headaches during Pregnancy